[Advaita-l] Re: SSS and Panchapadika

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Fri Mar 2 23:04:38 CST 2007

praNAm.h shrI Jayanarayanan and others too,

I will address the issue of the necessity of effort after GYAna, but before
that, let me also quote some of the comments of SSS regarding the
paJNchapAdika (given the claims earlier that he considered it a malicious
work etc.). Please see Method of Vedanta ch. 8, sec. 155, pg. 469:
"But the paJNchapAdika also introduces new topics, never before raised in
other works that survive. Without doubt this work deserves careful study on
certain points by those who wish to determine the true method of the
Vedanta, for it is in every way a stimulating piece of writing, with a
highly original style of exposition, backed by an impressive array of
reasoning. Amongst the more important topics for examination..."
So much for the opinion of SSS on the paJNchapAdika. Now on to the issue of
the necessity of effort after GYAna.

First, positive proof that SSS did recognize the need for effort after
obtaining GYAna (Method of Vedanta ch. 4,  sec. 73, pg. 205 onwards). A
small excerpt:
"But he (shaN^kara) also offered an alternative view, purely as a concession
to the ways of thinking of other people, through which an injunction could
be accepted. If so, it must be accepted as a 'restrictive' injunction (cp.
M.V. p. 197) applicable on the assumption (made only as a concession) that
knowledge had weakened with time, under the force of the merit and demerit
that had initiated the life in which enlightenment was obtained. The revered
commentator altogether rejected and refuted the possibility of an 'original'
injunction (cp. M.V. p.197) in this context".

Note that "purely as a concession to the ways of thinking of other people"
above should not be seen to mean that SSS grudgingly admits the necessity of
effort after obtaining GYAna. It should be seen more as a concession to
people who are accustomed to interpret the vEda according to vidhis (in
other words, the pUrva mImAMsakas), while not conceding the status of apUrva
vidhi to "effort after GYAna" (as pointed out by shrI Vidyasankar here:

Now, on to the points in your mail:

> I don't agree with your contrived explanation, but be that as it may.
> Perhaps we can give SSS the benefit of doubt in the above context.

Could you explain why you do not agree (in other words, why you feel it was
contrived)? Maybe there are some issues to be addressed.

How about this quote then, where the topic is the Panchapadika (p. 463):
> "Here the doctrine is that the power of Ignorance persists throughout
> the three states, accompanied by the latent impression of the ego.
> But several points are not explained. When Ignorance has been
> abolished through metaphysical knowledge, how can it in some sense
> continue through a latent impression?"
> SSS has phrased his objection in the form of a question. In other
> words, SSS is incredulous that a latent impression can exist after
> metaphysical knowledge!

The above quote was made in the context of the analysis of the three states
in the paJNchapAdika, and has no relevance whatsoever to the necessity of
effort after obtaining AtmaGYAna. Here are the reasons:
-- The use of the term 'Ignorance' in the paJNchapAdika has the connotation
of a power, a material cause responsible for the manifestation of the world.
And the above question "when ignorance has been abolished..." was with
regard to the position of the paJNchapAdika (for example, is it because of
prArabdha karma or some other reason which presumably has not been
explicityly stated) on how ignorance can continue through latent impressions
(given that it is avidyAshakti, Ignorance, which supports superimposition,
in particular, the ego-sense here). Note that the ignorance that is being
talked of here is not the same ignorance (which is more a lack of
samyak.hGYAna) that SV talks about and which has been uprooted through
(even for a GYAnimAtra).

-- What has been left unsaid (presumably, according to SSS) by the
paJNchapAdika on Ignorance above is supposed to be explicated by the
vivaraNa. For SSS's critique on the vivaraNa and the particular issue of
impressions of Ignorance (avidyA saMskAra), please read (ch. 12, sec. 254,
pg. 817). In other words, it's not like SSS was incredulous about
impressions of Ignorance. He merely said that the paJNchapAdika itself was
not clear-cut in its position on the issue.


It appears that SSS has actually misunderstood the Panchapadika in
> this context, for the textual quote he provides for the above
> objection is (page 463):
> "But would it not be the case that, when Ignorance was removed
> through knowledge of the Absolute, the ego-complex, which is its
> effect, would cease at that very moment? No. Ignorance can continue
> in the form of an impression ... (P.P. p. 174/40, cp. M.V. 151,2)
> Firstly, the Panchapadika does not say that Ignorance is *abolished*,
> but that it has been *removed*. I don't know what the Sanskrit words
> used here are, but the latter can mean something very different from
> the former.
> The Jivanmuktiviveka distinguishes between three kinds of persons:
> Sthitaprajna: Ignorance doesn't exist at all.
> Jnanimatra: Ignorance is removed, but exists as a burnt seed.
> Ignorant person: Ignorance exists as a fresh (unburnt) seed.
> Therefore, when the Panchapadika says that Ignorance can continue in
> the form of a latent impression after knowledge of the Self, the
> meaning is that Ignorance *can* exist as a burnt seed after attaining
> Knowledge of the Self.

There is no problem with the Panchapadika's
> teaching since it can be taken as the state of the Jnanimatra, but
> there is definitely a problem with SSS's reading of the text.
> Regards,
> Kartik

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